“Loyalist Trails” 2019-38: September 22, 2019

In this issue:
Return to Loyalist Times in the Mohawk Valley – starting this weekend
Ye Have the Poor With You Always: New Brunswick’s Loyalist Welfare System, by Stephen Davidson
Living History 101: One Persona Will Not Fit Every Event
JAR: Officers Who Never Saw Combat
JAR: Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and French Fries
Washington’s Quill: Wild and Wonderful George Washington
The Junto: Interview with David Doddington, Author of Contesting Slave Masculinity
Ben Franklin’s World: Mapping Empire in the Chesapeake
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
      + Norfolk County Genealogy Symposium, Sept. 28
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Patricia Ann Adair


Return to Loyalist Times in the Mohawk Valley – starting this weekend

Want to ‘experience’ history? Enjoy a whole week – or a day or two – of unique, custom-designed experiences that will allow you to immerse yourself in the rich history of the Mohawk Valley and surrounding area. The American Revolution swept people of the region up in the chaos of war, forcing people who had lived, worked, and fought together, to choose sides. Visit, explore, taste, learn at:

• Johnson Hall

• Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park

• Ayres House

• Fort Frey

• Colonial Cemetery

• Colonial Johnstown

• Battle of Johnstown Walking Tour

• St. Patrick’s Masonic Lodge

• Fort Klock

• Nellis Tavern

• Stone Arabia

Hands-On History Starts Here! Book the full week, selected days or a single day.

See the full Schedule of Events for day by day fees. Follow the “Sign up now” button, or email ExploreHistoryMV2019@gmail.com for the booking link. Book 3+ days and you will receive a FREE SWAG bag!

Spaces are limited – book today!

Ye Have the Poor With You Always: New Brunswick’s Loyalist Welfare System

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Our stereotypes of Loyalists tend to picture these American refugees as stalwart pioneers, braving the elements to establish new communities in the wilderness. If we have gone beyond an earlier era’s portrayal of the Loyalists as colonial aristocracy, we still may imagine them as prosperous farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. But poverty was part of the Loyalist experience as well – so much so that within two years of the creation of New Brunswick, its first legislature passed three acts to deal with the problem of the poor in a Loyalist society.

While some loyal refugees came to New Brunswick as part of extended family units or military regiments, there were others who fell between the cracks: widows and orphans who lost breadwinners during the American Revolution or during the first difficult years of settlement. Bachelor veterans who were good with a musket or sword were not always prepared for life on the land – or for menial labour in the larger settlements. Black Loyalists, the most marginalized group of refugees, had to overcome systemic racism, compete with white labour, and learn to grow their own crops. Other Loyalists sank into depression, alcoholism and mental illness, overwhelmed by the demands of settlement in New Brunswick.

Three years after the first evacuation vessels brought Loyalists to the mouth of the St. John River, New Brunswick’s law-makers faced the crisis of providing for the homeless and hungry within their new colony. Drawing upon the laws and welfare systems that they had grown up with in their original colonies, members of the 1786 provincial assembly turned into law “an act to Regulate and Provide for the Support of the Poor in this Province.” What they created provides us with an interesting perspective on the values and practices of Canada’s first Loyalist lawmakers.

The act decreed that towns and parishes were to appoint overseers of the poor. These new civil servants were to determine the “state and condition of the poor in their several districts” so that the sums could be “rated, assessed and collected” for the relief of their destitute citizens.

With consent from two justices of the peace, the overseers of the poor could compel “idle and disorderly person or persons, married or unmarried, who have no visible means of support” to work for “any substantial person who may be willing to employ him or them”. If these poor had offspring in a “suffering condition”, the overseer could “bind such poor children” as indented labourers. Boys would be servants until they were 21; girls would be bound until they were 18.

If the overseers had poor who were “not able to earn a living” (wounded veterans, those with chronic illnesses, the blind, lame, etc.), they were authorized to “hire or purchase a house for the reception of such poor” – or they could seek out someone to take the poor person into their home for a yearly allowance and “employ such poor in any labour they are able to do”. In the words of the act, the overseers were to “put the said Poor in the hands of the person who shall offer to keep them for the least expense, having at the same time a regard to the character of the person who offers, so that the Poor may not be inhumanly treated.”

Fines collected for breaking the law were one means of financing the Loyalist welfare system. A fine of £1.5 was collected from those convicted of “burning woods by carelessly or wantonly firing the same”. A fine of up to £10 had to be paid by anyone (known as a forestaller or regrater) caught re-selling market goods at a higher rate than their original purchase. The forestaller’s fine was used to support the poor in the town where he had broken the law.

At the same legislative session in which New Brunswick’s welfare system was created, a law was also passed with regulations for indented servants and apprentices. At the end of their term of service, those who had exchanged their labour for shelter, food, and work had to receive a discharge certificate from their masters or mistresses. If the indented servant forged a discharge certificate, he/she would be publicly whipped, “not exceeding thirty stripes”.

It was against the law for an employer to hire a former servant or apprentice if the latter did not produce a discharge certificate to prove his/her freedom. Any “masters of vessels” who received, harboured or concealed servants would be fined £10 for every such offense. Merchants, traders, and innkeepers were specifically ordered not to sell anything “upon credit” to indented servants or apprentices.

Any servant or apprentice who might “absent themselves from their service” while still under a master was “liable to make satisfaction by service after the time of their Indenture is expired, double the time of service so neglected; and if their absence was in seed time or harvest or the charge of recovering them, be extraordinary, the Court, before whom complaint is made, shall adjudge a longer time of service, proportionable to the damage the Master shall make it appear he has sustained.”

New Brunswick’s laws for apprentices and indented servants were not one- sided. By law, the masters had to “provide for his or her servant… according to the full tenor of their agreement”. Servants who had just cause for a complaint against their masters for “the non-performance of such agreement, or for hard and cruel usage” could go before a justice of the peace. If the employer was found guilty, the justices could have the servant discharged from the master’s service “or otherwise as they may see fit”.

A third law passed during the 1786 legislative session dealt with “Rogues, Vagabonds and other Idle and Disorderly Persons”. After receiving a complaint, a justice of the peace would issue a warrant to the local constable to apprehend “all persons who not having any visible means of maintaining themselves, live idle and refuse to work for the usual wages, and all persons going about to beg alms, and all idle and wandering persons.”

The justice of the peace would then question the beggars “as to what Place from whence they came and where they last settled”. If the person were deemed a member of the poor, presumably the earlier laws for dealing with the destitute would be followed. If the beggar’s testimony did not satisfy the justice of the peace, he would be considered an “idle and disorderly person” and would be “dealt with accordingly”.

The act did not spell out the latter consequence, but as the justice of the peace was required to find out from where the beggars had come, it seems likely that the “disorderly persons” were returned to “such town, Parish or Place” that they had left.

It is unfortunate that the stories of the destitute who were put in poor houses or placed in individual homes have been lost over the centuries. Historians have yet to discover primary sources to reveal whether this welfare system comprised of indented servanthood, mandatory labour, and beggar relocation met the needs of New Brunswick’s most vulnerable members during the years of Loyalist settlement.

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

Living History 101: One Persona Will Not Fit Every Event

By Kelly Arlene Grant, 17 September 2019

When I played in the SCA, it was fun and easy. I picked a character to play, made some clothes, and went to events. The Society is really relaxed about things, a European, between 600 and 1600, or a person who would have been in Europe during that time period…but even then, people push envelopes, and the requirement for dressing is a ‘plausible attempt’. So, there are women of Elizabeth’s Court who wear poly cotton T-tunics and nobody bats an eye. Nobody really cares, it’s a closed event, for fun!

When you do living history, it’s a whole different ball game. Historic sites ‘hire’ you for the day or weekend to portray a specific character in a specific moment in time. There is not ‘plausible attempt’, it’s all-in or nothing, please. Most living historians have a whole wardrobe of clothing and accoutrements to suit several different months, years, and characters over a given period of time. Some living historians do several different periods in time, and so have several different closets of clothing and bits to pull from. They are essentially a theatre costume shop to go. And a lot of them can stand scrutiny of a microscopic level.

Read more.

JAR: Officers Who Never Saw Combat

We asked our contributors, “Who is your favorite military officer who never saw any combat?” The intent was to showcase officers who saw no combat during their lives, but some respondents took it to mean only during the American Revolution.

There is a good list, with little duplication. There are three from the British side included:

Robert Rogers by Jim Piecuch:

Maybe it’s because of my New Hampshire roots, but I have to give a lot of credit to Robert Rogers. As the founder of the famed Rogers’ Rangers, he saw extensive action in the colonial wars, but not in the Revolution. He did, however, begin raising the Queen’s Rangers for the British, and they developed into a highly effective unit under John Graves Simcoe.

Frederick Haldimand by Gene Procknow:

Haldimand served as the military commander of New York before 1775, the British commander-in-chief during an absence by Gen. Thomas Gage, and finally, the Governor of Canada. He did this job exceedingly well despite being passed over from key commands (including overall North American commander-in-chief) due to his Swiss birth. More discerning of the rebellion’s popular support than any other British officer, Haldimand best managed the political, cultural as well as the military aspects of attempting to return to Crown control.

Patrick Tonyn by Roger Smith:

Lt. Col. (major general by war’s end) Patrick Tonyn, royal governor of East Florida. Tonyn was the only governor south of the Canadian border who kept his colony loyal for the duration of the war while keeping his hand in the conflict with his formation of the East Florida Rangers. Under Tonyn’s leadership, East Florida repelled three invasions and British regulars and militia from the colony participated in the conquest of Georgia and an attempted attack on Charleston. He also oversaw the financial salvation of the colony immediately upon his arrival March 1, 1774.

Read more.

JAR: Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and French Fries

By John L. Smith, Jr., 19 Septmeber 2019

Thomas Jefferson and Julia Child. Not two people you’d expect to be linked in history. But yet, indeed they are – as two gourmets who loved fine French cuisine. Frequently today in books, magazines, and online articles, Thomas Jefferson is “credited” with “introducing” such French foods as crème brûlée to the American appetite, as well as . . . French fries. Really?

Well, the French fry credit is mostly a myth. But like many things in American history, there’s an even more fascinating story behind the myth. Let’s take a quick look at the historical record of Jefferson, his preference for French foods and how it came about. At face value, it would seem that Jefferson wouldn’t have had much exposure to many exotic foods, living up at Monticello, his home perched atop a mountain overlooking the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. In Jefferson’s time, Charlottesville was practically at the edge of the western Virginia wilderness.

But we also know that Jefferson got around in his life. Aside from Williamsburg, the Virginian colonial capital, he spent vast amounts of time in Philadelphia (a very cosmopolitan city for its time) and other northern cities during the American Revolution and post-Revolution period. He then possibly at least had some small exposure in America to different dishes from foreign cultures like France.

Read more about Jefferson, James Hemings and Paris.

Washington’s Quill: Wild and Wonderful George Washington

By Kim Curtis, 20 September 2019

Last month, my husband, our 3-year-old daughter, and I took a road trip through sections of the Washington Heritage Trail, which goes through Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. This region is steeped in history not only related to the railroad, the Civil War, and John Brown’s raid but also (and more importantly to me) to the Washington family. The Washingtons, especially George and his younger brother Charles, seem to be everywhere, from family homes and gravesites to street names and tourist spots.

Pick a place on a map of this region, and more than likely, a Washington probably did sleep there at some point!

Read more.

The Junto: Interview with David Doddington, Author of Contesting Slave Masculinity

By David Doddington – Contesting Slave Masculinity examines the different models of masculinity that developed in slave communities in the antebellum South. Enslaved men thought and cared deeply about their gendered identities and acted accordingly; others in the community bore witness to and judged these identities in the process of creating their own. In the book, I’m most interested in considering how different versions of masculinity operated in relation to one another and in examining the consequences when enslaved people compared different versions of manhood; how they interacted with and viewed the men who created and performed these identities.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Mapping Empire in the Chesapeake

Christian Koot, a Professor of History at Towson University, has researched and written two books about the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch World to investigate how empires are made and who makes them.

Using details from his book, A Biography of A Map in Motion, Christian reveals information about a merchant named Augustine Herrman and how Herrman became a mapmaker; The seventeenth-century world of Virginia, Maryland, and New Netherland; And details about Herrman’s 1673 map Virginia and Maryland, and what Herrman’s map reveals about empire and empire making in the seventeenth century.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where are James Adair (Assiniboine Branch) and Jean Rae Baxter (Kingston Branch)?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

Norfolk County Genealogy Symposium, Sept. 28

I am one of the speakers at a genealogy symposium organized by Josh Klar at the Norfolk County Archives & Eva Brook Donley Museum in Simcoe. I am going to talk about how to apply for a Loyalist certificate – actually the talk is somewhat grandiosely sub-titled “Writing an Unbeatable Application”. I believe Grand River Branch will also have a table there with Loyalist information. Pre Registration is required. Heather Smith, RVP, Central West Region, UELAC.

See details for agenda, tickets, etc.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • About 70 African American soldiers who joined Hessian troops during the American Revolution settled in Germany, transforming themselves “from slaves to subjects.” G. F. Jones, “The Black Hessians,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 83, no. 4 (Oct. 1982).
  • This Week in History
    • 18 Sept. 1769, Broadside published, probably by the New York Sons of Liberty. It attacks a merchant who refused to abide by the non-importation agreements (from Library of Congress).
    • Summer 1770, a comet appeared in the sky over New England. Harvard professor John Winthrop noted it on June 26. At first it showed no tail, but #OTD September 14, the Rev. Ezra Stiles recorded he’d “observed the Comet’s Tail ninety degrees in length.”
    • 17 Sept. 1774, Gen. Thomas Gage wrote to his predecessor as governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, floating the idea of the Crown hiring German mercenaries since “these provinces must be first totally subdued before they will obey.”
    • 17 Sept. 1775, Fort Saint Jean sur Richelieu in Quebec besieged in American attempt to liberate Canada from British.
    • 20 Sept. 1775, Dr. Benjamin Church wrote to Gen. George Washington from leave in Taunton, resigning as top surgeon in the Continental Army. There had been inquiries into how the doctor ran the army hospitals.
    • 21 Sept. 1775, Gen. Washington wrote, “I am now to inform the Honbl. Congress, that encouraged by the repeated Declarations of the Canadians & Indians,…I have detached Col. Arnold with 1000 Men to penetrate into Canada by Way of Kennebeck River…”
    • 14 Sept. 1776, General Court at Watertown, MA blocks sale of two black prisoners, rules they be treated as other POWs.
    • 15 Sept. 1776, British armada arrives at NYC, completing the occupation and dealing a heavy blow to the American rebellion.
    • 18 Sept. 1776, Washington sends news to Congress of rare victory at Battle of Harlem Heights.
    • 19 Sept. 1776, Col. Williamson’s patriots attacked in NC in a gorge known as the Black Hole, eventually fight clear.
    • 21 Sept. 1776, Great Fire of New York burns up to 1000 structures; arson by retreating Americans forces suspected.
    • 20 Sept. 1777, British conduct bayonet attack at Paoli Massacre, no flints in muskets to ensure surprise.
    • 17 Sept. 1778, Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant leads raid on German Flatts, New-York, killing 3 & burning town.
    • 16 Sept. 1779, Savannah GA besieged by Americans & French; ends in failure.
    • 21 Sept. 1779, Bernardo de Gálvez, Spanish Governor of Louisiana, captures British fort at Baton Rouge, West-Florida; surrender includes all British emplacements on the Mississippi.
  • Clothing and Related:
    • 1770s stays. By the 1770s steel was used during stay production to increase the strength of the undergarments, retaining the desired silhouette of the wearer. The downside of using this material was the lack of flexibility.
    • 18th Century dress, sleeve detail showcasing embroidery and detailing on flounces, 1750’s
    • 18th Century dress, rear view of Pet-en-l’air overcoat with matching petticoat, c.1770
    • 18th Century dress, robe à la française, c.1780, It is extremely small in size and may have been a young woman’s first formal gown, to be worn at local dances & assemblies
    • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, Anna Maria Garthwaite’s original design of this identifies not only the artist but also the weaver, Peter Lekeux, & date of sale – Oct. 23, 1747. Both were important contributors to Spitalfields silk industry.
    • 18th Century men’s Court waistcoat, gold embroidered silk, 1760’s
    • 18th Century men’s formal coat, embroidered with a floral border, 1770’s
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Farmer Frank Meyers, who fought expropriation, dies at 91. A funeral will be held Friday in Trenton for Frank Meyers, the Quinte West farmer whose fight against federal expropriation of his family farm became a national David-and-Goliath story. He said he was a descendent of Capt. John Walden Meyers, a United Empire Loyalist to whom Mr. Meyers said at least some of the land was deeded roughly 200 years ago. Read more…
    • 101 Ways to Say “Died”, Part 12: Went Rejoycing Out of this World into the Other. (Be sure to click through to the intro for the full list, plus extras) 

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Savage, Peter – from Linda Mazrimas

Please help us build the directory by contributing information. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for guidance.

Last Post: Patricia Ann Adair

Patricia Ann Adair, beloved wife of Gerald Adair, passed away at the Southeast Integrated Care Centre, Moosomin, on Saturday, September 14th, 2019 at the age of 69 years.

Prayer Vigil at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Moosomin, on Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral Service at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Moosomin, on Friday, September 20th at 1:00 p.m. with Fr. Joseph Kuruvilla officiating. Interment will be in the Maryfield Cemetery, with a reception to follow at the Maryfield Auditorium Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Moosomin & District Healthcare Foundation – Palliative Care, in memory of Pat.

Editor’s Note

Mixed with the bad luck of missing The Shetlands, Faroe Island and a brief stop in southern Greenland (Nanortalik) due to bad weather, we have had off-setting good luck with fabulous weather in two stops in Iceland (Akureyri) and Reykjavik), one in Greenland (Qaqortuk)) and now just departing from St. Anthony and L’Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland. As well, the sun shone for the entire time we spent creeping slowly through Priz Christiansson. Only Isafjordur in Iceland thus far has had a more mixed weather). Only two more stops and then disembarkation!